More than 600 residents received the title deeds to their RDP houses at a Nelson Mandela Day event at Humansdorp on Wednesday, 18 July.
The event was one of three activities hosted by Kouga Municipality in celebration of late President Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said 631 title deeds were handed out to residents from the Humansdorp suburbs of Youth Camp, Vaaldam, Gill Marcus and old Arcadia at the Kruisfontein Community Hall.
“These beneficiaries have been waiting for more than a decade for the title deeds to their houses. Some have even been waiting for more than 20 years.
“Several of the recipients are over 70 years old and have never had proof that they own their homes. We changed that today by giving them what is rightfully theirs.”
One of the oldest recipients, 78-year-old Willie Hendricks, said it was a proud day for him.
“I now have the peace of mind that my house will go to my daughter when I pass on.
“She has sacrificed so much for me by looking after me all these years. It gives me great comfort knowing she will have a house to call her own one day,” said Hendricks, who lost his one leg to gangrene and might have to have the other one amputated as well.
“It’s also just wonderful having so many people here, visiting me, on this special day.”
Mayor Hendricks said giving people title deeds to their houses was an effective means of empowering communities economically and restoring human dignity.
“The plight of dispossessed people is best addressed through expanding ownership of land and property. The right to own land speaks to the restoration of human dignity, which lay very close to Tata Madiba’s heart.”
He said the Mandela Day programme followed on the work started by his predecessor, the late Elza van Lingen, at Thornhill on Human Rights Day when she distributed more than 200 title deeds to residents.
“Since her passing, we have come across a further 1 688 title deeds that have been lying around in store rooms and offices at the municipality for years.
“Today marks the handing over of the first batch of these. The remaining 1057 will be handed out at Sea Vista, KwaNomzamo, Patensie, Hankey, Jeffreys Bay and Thornhill from August to October.
“We also expect to find more title deeds and will ensure that each one of them reach the rightful recipient.”
In addition to the title deed programme, Kouga Municipality also fixed up the house of KwaNomzamo’s oldest resident, Rosy Napu (108 yrs) on Nelson Mandela Day.
The municipality further partnered with the Fountains Mall to collect used or spare baby clothing, to be distributed to organisations that work with orphaned and vulnerable babies.